By Jeff Blackford, Nodaway-Holt Superintendent

2019 was an historic year for the Nodaway-Holt School District with final completion of the new junior- and high-school facility in Graham.

The new facility features seven classrooms, restrooms, an expanded cafeteria and central office along with upgraded technology and security.

A dedication ceremony and open house was held November 10 for the community and public to tour the new facility and enjoy cake and punch in the celebration. The process taken to the historic date was long and challenging but everyone in the Nodaway-Holt School District should be proud of such a great facility.

The initial planning began in the fall of 2017 when school officials invited community members to join and form a facility committee. The group met several times that fall to discuss the districts priorities and needs. In December 2017, the facility committee made a recommendation to the board of education to consider construction of new classrooms at the high school in Graham and address roof issues and outdated restrooms in the elementary building in Maitland.

At the regular board meeting in January 2018, the board approved a ballot resolution to appear in the April election extending the current bond for 20 years. In April 2018, the communities of Skidmore, Maitland and Graham voted by over 75 percent approval to extend the bond in support.

In the year-and-a-half since the initial construction began, the improvements and new facilities have been completed. The roof repairs and restroom renovations at the elementary were started and completed during the summer of 2018. The benefits of those renovations have already been realized with increased efficiencies in heating and cooling, no roof leaks and modernized restrooms with handicap accessibility.

On October 5, 2018, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new high school addition. The construction was delayed by cold and snow, slowing progress through the entire spring of 2019. Eventually the weather broke and construction accelerated in full swing throughout the summer. On August 21, Nodaway-Holt students and staff were able to sign their name on the concrete before the flooring was laid. On the morning of October 22, the first of many Nodaway-Holt students entered the halls and walked into the classrooms of the new addition. Also in 2019, data cabling and switches were updated in both facilities and a camera system was installed to improve safety and security of students and staff.

During the summer, the elementary building had a tree line removed and a new chain-link fence erected for the safety of the students while on the playground.

It appears the year 2020 will be eventful as well; the board of education will consider demolition of the 1930s addition of the high school and securing the entrances to the current Ag classroom and the 1950s addition.

With the hard work and dedication of the facility committee members, the board of education and support of the community, Nodaway-Holt R-VII School District will continue to provide a quality education to all students.

This will be more than a new facility. It represents a promise that the Nodaway-Holt School District will do what it takes to give its children a quality education. The community is keeping that important promise and conferring a lasting legacy of opportunity for future generations.